PYMNTS Data Brief: Nearly One-Quarter Of Past, Current Crypto Owners Have Paid With It

Cryptocurrency Payments

Wherever one comes down on the debate around cryptocurrency as an investment, a currency or a hybrid of both, it’s captured the public imagination in a big way this year, and all kinds of people have thoughts — and plans — for how they’d like to acquire and spend digital money.

The Cryptocurrency Payments Report: How Consumers Want To Use It To Shop And Pay, a PYMNTS and BitPay collaboration, is based on a recent census-balanced survey of over 8,000 U.S. consumers, looking at current and former crypto users and nonusers alike. Among the findings that jump out of this excerpt is not just the level of purchase intent, but also actual usage.

“Nearly a quarter of current or former cryptocurrency owners have used cryptocurrency to purchase groceries and retail products as well as to make online gaming or gambling-related purchases, pay for streaming services or access financial services,” per the report, which noted the desire of current crypto holders “in making purchases via cryptocurrency in these categories as well, especially for buying groceries (19 percent) and paying for streaming services (20 percent).”

Millennials have particularly strong sentiments for the use of crypto as a payments option, with streaming services, groceries, online gaming and computer-related purchases (29 percent each) and “more routine travel and leisure-related purchases” coming in at 22 percent.

Among those who have never bought or owned crypto, 75 percent cite “lack of knowledge about cryptocurrency, how to obtain it or its tax implications.” Additionally, one-third of consumers say it’s not “mainstream or accepted enough” — a common response among baby boomers and seniors (39 percent). “A relatively smaller but significant share of respondents who have never purchased cryptocurrencies worry about their value being too volatile (25 percent),” per The Cryptocurrency Payments Report: How Consumers Want to Use It to Shop and Pay.

It all comes together (or not) for spendable crypto with merchants — and how people feel about their handling of valuable digital assets is shaping opinions about this class of assets.

Noting that just over half of the 8,000-plus respondents “are more likely to shop with a merchant if they accept cryptocurrency as a payment option,” the report states that “despite consumers’ growing appetite for owning and using cryptocurrencies, few merchants today accept them as a payment method. Merchants would do well to begin accepting cryptocurrency, as more than half (51 percent) of cryptocurrency owners are more likely to buy from merchants that do, and 47 percent of owners seek out merchants that accept cryptocurrency to make purchases,” per The Cryptocurrency Payments Report.